By Katrina Liu

Boston University had announced March 11 that students would attend classes remotely until at least April 13 — a deadline that would later be extended to the end of the semester. I remember looking at the email, shrugging, then going back to whatever I was doing, not knowing at that moment how much things would actually change. 

Taking classes during a pandemic is far from ideal and it’s not the experience students signed up for. Learning is a process made better by being around other people. Having that stripped away all of a sudden is unfair. 

But when the world changes, we must change along with it. We’ve had to adjust to living in situations where the pandemic isn’t something foreign or untouchable — it’s right outside our front doors. Being a college student during this time comes with its own set of challenges. 

Sure, it can be nice walking just a couple feet to get to class (and waking up literally 5 minutes beforehand), but attending classes via Zoom takes away the little things it means to be a BU student. It takes away human interaction and the ability to connect with people who share similar views and, more importantly, the people who share different ones.

I wholeheartedly believe there is nothing more fulfilling than having conversations with new people, learning what they like and what they can’t stand, who they are as a person and how they want the world to be. You get to do that so often at this university.

It’s already difficult to find your “group” in college. Hell, I don’t think I’ve even found mine yet. And with Orientation being online as well as the newness of a wholly transformed academic environment coming up, things aren’t going to be easier by any means. 

But something I wish I had known is that it’s so important to be willing to try: to try new activities and to try to develop connections with people who aren’t like you on the surface. It’s a trial and error process. Some people you’ll click with, while some you won’t. And that’s okay. 

Unfortunately, you may not have that traditional Orientation experience where you’ll make those friends to start off the school year with. But that’s only one chance out of many you will have to meet new people, because at BU, strangers are at every turn. Every day is a chance to encounter someone different.

And one thing is for sure: you will share a similar experience with the rest of your graduating class — entering a new chapter of your life amid a pandemic during one of the weirdest times in modern history.

The experiences and growth that come out of that cannot be taken away from you.